- The Washington Times - Monday, March 18, 2002

Betraying Osama
What do 19th-century terrorists Jesse James, Billy the Kid and the Dalton gang all share in common?
They were all shot dead by gunmen seeking government bounties.
Rather than offer "rewards" for information leading to the arrest of terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden, Randall Lutter, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, is proposing that the United States issue a cheaper but far more effective "bounty" for his capture.
"Given bin Laden's gloating videotaped admission that he organized the September 11 attacks, we should treat him the same way we treated terrorists of the Old West: by putting a price on his head," says Mr. Lutter.
The history of the Old West, the scholar says, provides a "surprisingly strong case for bounty-hunting bin Laden. Indeed, lawmen who fought Jesse James and Billy the Kid would have been shocked by President Bush's suggestion that bin Laden is 'wanted dead or alive,' because the president missed the key point of the old 'Wanted' posters the reward."
Dead or alive rewards, says Mr. Lutter, "enticed even erstwhile friends of the most notorious Old West outlaws to betray them. Jesse James eluded lawmen during 15 years of robbery and murder.
"Yet after Missouri Governor Tom Crittenden put a $10,000 reward on his head in 1881, James' fellow robbers Robert and Charlie Ford brought James to their home and shot him in the back of his head. The Fords were charged with James' murder," he observes, "but Governor Crittenden pardoned them and they got the reward."
And why is a bounty on somebody's head more effective than a reward leading to their arrest?
Several reasons, the scholar says one being that a bounty might reduce the "martyr" image of a dead terrorist if the terrorist were betrayed by his closest followers.
Also, beginning with the FBI in 1999, the U.S. government has offered millions of dollars in rewards for bin Laden in the neighborhood of $25 million but as Mr. Lutter points out, by the time Uncle Sam "organizes, authorizes and executes an effort to apprehend or destroy him, information about his whereabouts may already be obsolete."

Land of opportunity
Latest Census Bureau figures reveal that 114,000 illegal immigrants from the Middle East are currently residing in the United States. The Justice Department, at the same time, is now seeking to interrogate more than 6,000 of these illegals who came from regions identified as al Qaeda strongholds.
Federal authorities have indicated that among this bunch of illegals are "sleeper cells" of terrorists who disgustingly enough while awaiting their next deadly assignment go about their daily lives like the rest of us, working in our neighborhood cafes, construction sites, gasoline stations, you name it.

Guaranteed rights
The U.S. office of special counsel and the Office of Personnel Management late last week launched the federal government's first Whistleblower Protection Act pilot program.
The program will ensure that federal employees know they can come forward with information about problems within their federal agencies without fear of retaliation a protection that is guaranteed under the Whistleblower Protection Act.
When finished implementing the program, the OPM will become the first government agency to be certified as in compliance with the prohibited personnel practices and whistleblower protection provisions of Title 5.

Still needs badges
Congress in recent days has been saluting the Girl Scouts of America as it celebrates its 90th year of existence, founded in 1912 by Juliette Gordon Low.
Interestingly enough, Miss Low launched the organization with 18 girls and a budget that was funded by selling her pearl necklace.
Another intriguing fact revealed about the Girl Scouts during the Capitol Hill tribute is that the impact of the organization extends far beyond one or two generations. Just ask the oldest active Girl Scout today, who is 97 years old.

Enough said
"And I am always reminded well, it is inappropriate to reflect on lawyer jokes, so I will restrain myself, with some reluctance."
Sen. Frank H. Murkowski, Alaska Republican, holding back during Senate floor debate last week.


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